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What’s On This Week


Independent Venue Week: Tin At the Coal Vaults, Coventry, Mon Jan 28 – Sun Feb 3

A 7-day celebration of small music venues around the country and a nod to the people that own, run and work in them. As the only featured venue in this area Coventry’s Canal Basin  venue, The Tin,  there are three highly contrasting gigs –  the Larry Bartley Trio – led by an excellent -in demand jazz bassist/composer – and featuring top London saxophonist Tony Kofi on Thur Jan 31; 5-piece Coventry punk headliners High Knucks supported by Rainbow Grave and Slowbrow on Fri Feb 1 and Coventry’s colourful electro trio Zkeletonz with Mystic Peach + Jaghana.




TALK: Living Dangerously – An Evening with Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre, University of Warwick, Coventry, Tues Jan 29

Recognised as one of the world’s greatest living explorers Sir Ranulph offers a personal journey through his life, from his early years to the present day. Light-hearted and strikingly poignant, Living Dangerously spans Sir Ranulph’s childhood and school misdemeanours, his army life and early expeditions, right through the Transglobe Expedition to his current Global Reach Challenge – his goal to become the first person in the world to cross both polar ice caps and climb the highest mountain on each of the seven continents, 7.30pm. Tickets from £28.50. warwickartscentre


MUSIC: Massive Attack’s Mezzanine XX1, Manchester Arena, Tues Jan 29

I’m sure this iconic album from the Bristol trip-hop trio provided a soundtrack to the 90’s for many people, along with Tricky’s Maxinquaye and Portishead’s DummyMezzanine featured guest performances from Everything But the Girl’s Tracey Thorn, and Elizabeth Fraser from the Cocteau Twins –  who is to give her first live performance since 2012 This one-off show show will re-imagine Mezzanine 21 years on from its release using custom audio reconstructed from the original samples and influences, and is one of just four UK tour dates including London O2 Arena (Feb 22, Dublin’s 3 Arena on Feb 24 and Bristol’s Steel Yard on March 1). Sadly, there are no closer gigs in the Midlands. The band has been collaborating with award-winning documentary filmmaker Adam Curtis to create the tour’s visuals. Robert Del Naja described the show as the band’s “own personalised nostalgia nightmare head trip”.


THEATRE: Timon of Athens, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, until Feb 22 2019


Simon Godwin directs the acclaimed Kathryn Hunter as Timon in Shakespeare’s sharp satire on wealth, greed and betrayal.  Poignant, funny and bitter, it tells the story of how the world moves from privilege to poverty with heart-breaking speed. rsc


MUSIC: Low, Birmingham Town Hall, Wed Jan 30

After 25 years this American trio, which includes the husband-and-wife vocals of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker along with Steve Garrington, have scored a critically-acclaimed master-piece with Double Negative. It was also chosen as one of BBC 6 Music’s top 10 Albums of the Year and The Guardian’s 50 Best Albums of 2018The band teamed up for the record with producer B.J. Burton, who previously worked with rap acts including Eminem and Lizzo, thsh


FASHION: Celebrating China pop-up boutique, Bicester Village, now until Sun 17 Feb

Curated by fashion influencer Susie Bubble, this pop-up boutique of ten cutting-edge Chinese designers is opening to celebrate Chinese New Year. It includes rising stars Ryan Lo, Mukzin and I Am Chen and with Chinese designers starting to make their mark on catwalks around the world it’s definitely worth checking out what they have to offer.


THEATRE: Skylight, The Loft Theatre, Leamington Spa, Wed Jan 23 – Sat Feb 2

Kyra Hollis (Julie-Ann Randell)

David Hare’s 1990’s-set pivotal play Skylight originally premiered in 1995 to critical acclaim. It tells the story of a successful restaurateur in late middle age, Tom, and Kyra, a maths teacher in her late 20s working in a money-starved East End school. They were lovers for six years; she left him when his wife discovered their affair.  Three years after his wife’s death they have dinner and talk turns to their previous relationship but, given the huge difference in their lifestyles, can they find any common ground? ‘There is a bruising emotional truth in Hare’s writing’, says Director Sue Moore, ‘and an exhilarating mixture of wit and anger as these two wounded stubborn creatures rake over the ashes of their past.’

 lofttheatrecompany, email:, or Tel: 01926 830680


CLASSICAL: Hallé Orchestra, Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre, Fri Feb 1

Photo credit: Stephen Hough

It’s not hard to work out why pianist Stephen Hough is one of the few living musicians to have been awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. Chances to hear him play the sparkling Fifth Concerto don’t come around every day, and here he’ll be accompanied by conductor Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé, one of the most dynamic conductor/orchestra partnerships of our time.  7.30pm

Tickets: £22.50-£41.50 (£21.50-£39.50) Under 26s £16, Under 18s £13, & Under 10s £8. Pre-concert Talk: Helen Martin Studio 6.15pm £2.50, warwickartscentre


THEATRE: The Verdict, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry Wed Jan 30 – Sat Feb 2

A new cast starring Ian Kelsey (Blue Murder, EmmerdaleCasualty, Down to Earth, Where the Heart isDoctors and Coronation Street) as washed-up alcoholic lawyer Frank Galvin will appear in Middle Ground Theatre’s critically acclaimed adaptation of The Verdict as it embarks on a new 2019 UK tour kicking off at the Belgrade Theatre. Best known from Sidney Lumet’s Oscar nominated film version, this new production of Barry Reed’s gripping courtroom drama the cast also includes Denis Lill (Only Fools and Horses) as his mentor Moe Kat, Christopher Ettridge (Goodnight Sweetheart) as his rival, J Edgar Concannon and Paul Opacic (Bad GirlsEmmerdaleHollyoaks) as surgeon Rexford Towler. Tel: 024 7655 3055, belgrade


TALK: Ann Widdecombe In Conversation, The Albany Theatre, Coventry, Sat Feb 2

One of the most outspoken politicians of our time, Anne embarks on her first ever national tour. Expect some Strictly gossip and an insight into her surprisingly unexpected life,  albanytheatre  Box office: 02476 998 96.


COMEDY: Sindhu Vee’s Sandhog, Studio, Warwick Arts Centre, Sun Feb 3 (Returns Only!)

Loving your children and ageing parents is very hard work, very intense and a lot of the time it sucks. But who wants to live without love? Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Newcomer Nominee 2018 Sindhu Vee’s highly anticipated debut show to Coventry is already sold out. The mother-of-three, who grew up in the Philippines, Lucknow and Delhi, hosts BBC Radio 4’s Comedy of the Week podcast and has appeared on QIHave I Got News for You, Alan Davies’ As Yet Untitled, and heard on the Guilty Feminist podcast, 7.30pm. Tickets: £15 (£13),



KIDS: Elmer The Patchwork Elephant, The Albany Theatre, Coventry, Sat Feb 2

Celebrating its 30-year anniversary, this classic children’s book series is live on stage featuring a menagerie of 21 puppets. A lovely show for younger children all about individuality and the power of laughter! Tickets: £14 adult, £11 concession (Family tickets available), albanytheatre  Box office: 02476 998 96.


CLASSICAL: St Petersburg Philharmonic – Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff & Mahler, Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Thur Jan 31

Irish soprano Anna Devin is an alumna of the Royal Opera House’s Jette Parker Young Artist programme, the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and the National Opera Studio.

The renowned St Petersburg Philharmonic return to Birmingham. Prokofiev’s Haydn-inspired Classical Symphony sits alongside Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto, the most technically challenging of the composer’s piano concertos and Irish soprano Anna Devin joins the orchestra for the warmth and intimacy of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony.



THEATRE: Octopus Soup! Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Sat Feb 2 – Sat Feb 15

Room 101 host Nick Hancock plays Seymour, a down-on-his-luck insurance consultant hoping to turn his career around with an important conference call, in this second play by comedy writer and director Jack Milner (The Mummy, 2014), co-written with Mark Stevenson. A modern farce it also stars Warwickshire native Paul Bradley, who played Nigel Bates in EastEnders and Elliot Hope in Holby City; former RSC actor Gillian Bevan (Maydays  and Cymbeline at the RSC; the head Claire Hunter in award-winning Channel 4 drama Teachers and Theresa May in The Windsors also for Channel 4), Carolyn Backhouse; and Eric Richard, who played Desk Sergeant Bob Cryer in The Bill for 17 years.  Tel: 024 7655 3055, belgrade


ART: Forward: New Art From Birmingham, Ikon Off-site at Medicine Bakery and Gallery, until  March 24

Tereza-Buskova-Beheading-of-the-Cockerel-2009-courtesy-the-artist-Photo credit: Ikon Gallery, Birmingham,

A group exhibition proving just how Birmingham’s artistic community is thriving. It features work by 28 artists living and working in the city, highlighting the depth and vitality of a wide range of practices, including this piece by Tereza Buskova, a UK-based Czech artist, who re-interprets Slavic rituals, traditions and customs with performance, print & video. Taking place in Medicine, the old gallery space of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, from which sprang the young generation that founded Ikon more than 50 years ago, it opens with artist Kevin Atherton’s live performance, In Two Minds at 6.15pm on Wed Jan 23. The work premiered in 1978 at the Serpentine Gallery, London. Since then there have been a number of re-engagements by the artist where he directly communicates with his younger self.


Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Fri Feb 1 – May 6

Leonardo da Vinci, The head of an old bearded man, c.1517-18 RCIN 912499

12 of the Renaissance master’s drawings from the Royal Collection will be displayed at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, as part of 12 simultaneous exhibitions across the UK to mark the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death. Revered in his day as a painter, Leonardo completed only around 20 paintings; he was respected as a sculptor and architect, but no sculpture or buildings by him survive. Drawings on display will include the Head of an Old Bearded Man (c.1517-18), and A Map of the Valdichiana (c.1503-4). Free.




SOLO Fest, Warwick Arts Centre, University of Warwick, Coventry, Mon 4 – Thu 7 Feb

SOLO Fest is a 4-day festival showcasing theatre shows by three hugely talented solo performers. A Hundred Words for Snow by Tatty Hennessy, is  a neatly layered touching one-woman show about grief and growing up, performed by Gemma Barnett; while Man on the Moon, is a poetic, ‘touchingly funny, arrestingly relevant’ exploration of fatherhood within the Black British experience, written and performed by Keisha Thompson. Finally, I Wish I Was a Mountain, is a joyful new one-man show for young audiences based on Herman Hesse’s fairy tale, ‘Faldum’ written and performed by London-based young performance poet Toby Thompson from Bath. Audiences have the opportunity to see two shows each evening, along with FREE pop-up performances by local artists, and post-show gossip events.

See all SOLO Fest shows with a Festival Pass £20 (£18); one night of SOLO Fest shows for £16 (£13) or see any SOLO Fest show for £9 (£7), warwickartscentre


DANCE:  Strictly star Giovanni Pernice: Dance is Life, The Albany Theatre, Coventry, Thurs Feb 21

Hearthrob Giovanni, who is currently dating fellow Strictly star Pussycat Dolls singer, Ashley Roberts, has lots of fans out there, (obvs), as tickets for this show, also featuring Luba Mushtuk, are selling super-duper fast! The quick-footed Sicilian will be cha-cha-cha-ing his way across the stage to perform a dazzling display of ballroom routines including the Quick-Step, Samba, Rhumba, Paso Doblé, Argentine Tango and his signature dance, the Jive. A sizzling sequin-encrusted night-out!  albanytheatre  Box office: 02476 998 96


BALLET: Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, Birmingham Hippodrome, Tues Feb 5 – 15 

 Matthew Bourne’s menacing, witty and unique production of Swan Lakehas won tons of awards and rightly so. It’s best known for the all male corps-de-ballet – unheard of in the ballet world before – but it’s an all-round winner even if you’re not a ballet fan. birminghamhippodrome


Lucy Porter, Pass It On, Warwick Arts Centre, Sun Feb 10

You’d better be quick if you fancy going to see TV fave Lucy, as there’s limited availability! The warm and witty stand-up muses on what we receive from our ancestors and what we pass on to future generations. Lucy inherited dodgy knees and global warming from her parents. Can she leave a better legacy for her children?  8pm, warwickartscentre


MUSIC: Maya Yousseff, Warwick Arts Centre, Feb 15

Maya is a virtuoso on the qanun (the Syrian 78-stringed plucked zither). The Guardian described her recent performance as “an exquisite, emotional set that constantly changes mood from sorrow to hope.” Her debut album, Syrian Dreams, was released in November 2017, to critical acclaim. warwickartscentre


The Full Monty, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Feb 23 – March 2

Photo by: Matt-Crockett

Based on his smash hit 1997 film of the same name, Simon Beaufoy’s story of six Sheffield steel workers who decide to stage a strip show to raise much-needed cash is now in its sixth year on stage.  Gary Lucy, Kai Owen, Louis Emerick and Andrew Dunn return to reprise their starring roles, alongside Monty newcomers James Redmond and Joe Gill. Tickets available at belgrade, or Tel: the box office on 024 7655 3055.



Pinter at the Pinter: A Slight Ache & The Dumb Waiter, The Harold Pinter Theatre, London, Thur Jan 31 – Feb 23

This critically-acclaimed celebrity-packed season ends with two unmissable comedies exploring the political machinations of the powerful and powerless…starring Martin Freeman, Danny Dyer, John Heffernan (who starred as Oppenheimer in the RSC’s play oft he same name) and former King’s High, Warwick pupil Gemma Whelan,(Game of Thrones and ) Free Q&A with the cast on Tue Feb 12.



EXHIBITION: An Earthly Paradise: William Morris & the Thames, River & Rowing Museum, Fri 1 Feb – Sun 14 July

This exhibition’s focus is on how the Thames and its tributaries influenced William Morris’ work. He had a rural retreat in Oxon and enjoyed angling and boating and the influence of the river can been seen in his textiles and designs. Pieces have been collated from the V&A, The William Morris Gallery and the British Library to make this exhibition possible and it also delves into Morris personal life and his politics so you get a sense of the man as well as his iconic work.


THEATRE: All About Eve, Noel Coward Theatre, London, Sat Feb 2 – Sat May 11

Not the recent fabulous TV series but a play based on the award-winning 1950s film starring Bette Davis as Margo Channing, a Broadway star, and her young fan, Eve Harrington, who inveigles her way into her life. With Gillian Anderson and Lilly James in the starring roles, director Ivo van Hove at the helm, and with the themes of celebrity and youth at its core, this looks like a dead cert for success.


EXHIBITION: Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, Sat Feb 2

Christian Dior by Maria Grazia Chiuri (b. 1964), Éventail de vos hasards, Dress, Haute Couture, Spring/Summer 2018. Dior Héritage collection, Paris

This is going to be maaassive! The V&A is showing the largest House of Dior exhibition ever staged in the UK, tracing the history of Christian Dior and the six artistic directors who succeeded him. The exhibition is based on the major exhibition Christian Dior: Couturier du Rêve, organised by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, and there will be a new section exploring Dior’s fascination with British culture. A highlight will be the Christian Dior dress worn by Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday celebrations, on loan from the Museum of London.


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